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Resisto, ergo sum! Anmerkungen zur Begriffsgeschichte von „Widerstand“

Veith Selk

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Schlagwörter: Widerstand, ziviler Ungehorsam, ziviler Widerstand, politische Gewalt, Begriffsgeschichte, politische Ideengeschichte, Entpolitisierung


Resisto, ergo sum! Some Remarks about the Conceptual History of „Resistance“.


Based on a conceptual history approach and an analysis of some classic
texts of political thought, this article investigates the shifts in the meaning of the political concept of „resistance“. It shows that this concept has  undergone major changes throughout its history. Firstly, it was transformed during the „Sattelzeit“ (1750-1850). Originally a „reactionary“ term, it  became a broader more „progressive“ concept which could be used more easily as an instrument of political mobilization and ideological contestation. It also started to refl ect the modern concept of time as  processing history. Secondly, in the subsequent period (since 1850), the concept of „resistance“ became romanticised, individualised, culturalised and subjectivised. As a result, it became a diffused concept. Finally, the closing section of the paper examines contemporary tendencies toward the depoliticization and aestheticization of „resistance“.

Keywords: Resistance, civil disobedience, civil resistance, political violence, conceptual history, history of political thought, depoliticization